Monday, October 31, 2011

John James Audubon

Country of origin: Saint-Domingue
John James Audubon (Jean-Jacques Audubon) (April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851) was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of North America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. Audubon identified 25 new species and a number of new sub-species.
To read more about John James Audubon, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Eleuthère Irénée du Pont

Country of origin: France
Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours (24 June 1771 – 31 October 1834), known as Irénée du Pont, or E.I. du Pont, was a French-born Huguenot chemist and industrialist who immigrated to the United States in 1799 and founded the gunpowder manufacturer, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. His descendants, the Du Pont family, were one of America's richest and most prominent families in the 19th and 20th centuries.
To learn more about Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Samina Ali

Country of origin: India
Ali was born in Hyderabad, India, and emigrated with her parents to America when she was six months old. She spent half of each year in India, where she attended school. In 1993 she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in English. She received an M.F.A. from the University of Oregon. She lives in San Francisco with her son, and is working on her second novel.
To read more about Samina Ali, visit her page on Wikipedia, or an interview with her here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Today is National Immigrant's Day

See video here

Branka Katić

Country of origin: Serbia
Branka Katić (Serbian Cyrillic: Бранка Катић; born 20 January 1970) is a Serbian actress known for appearing in the movies Black Cat, White Cat and Public Enemies, and in the TV series Big Love.
To read more about Branka Katić, visit her page here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Janet Nguyen

Country of origin: Vietnam
Janet Q. Nguyen (born 1976) is the County Supervisor from the First District of Orange County, California. She won her seat following a historic special election where two Vietnamese-American candidates received half of the total votes cast in a field of 10, separated from each other by only 7 votes. She was sworn in on March 27, 2007, after a lengthy court battle. She won a full, four-year term in 2008 in another historic election when all three major candidates were Vietnamese Americans. She is the youngest person to be elected to the board of supervisors, the first woman to be elected from the First District, and the first Vietnamese-American county supervisor in the United States. Prior to her election to the Board of Supervisors, she served as a city council member for the City of Garden Grove.
To read more about Janet Nguyen, see her Wikipedia page here.

Marina Belotserkovsky

Country of origin: Russia

Marina Belotserkovsky immigrated to the United States in 1989 as a refugee from the Former Soviet Union. She started her career at HIAS in 1990 and currently is Director of Russian Communications and Outreach, where she is responsible for assisting over one million members of the Russian speaking community in America. Ms. Belotserkovsky produces and hosts “HIAS Answers” for both radio and television. These programs have been hugely popular and helped countless thousands of new Americans find their way in their new world. Together with her HIAS’ colleagues, she has been instrumental in the success of LOREO and the Civic and Voter Educational Initiative – HIAS’ key national outreach programs for Russian Americans.
Before coming to the United States, Ms. Belotserkovsky founded and ran a school for gifted children in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has a Masters Degree in linguistics and teaching from the Pedagogical State University of St. Petersburg. She currently lives in Edison, NJ.

The above is from this page.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

D. J. Mbenga

Country of origin: Zaire
Didier Ilunga-Mbenga, commonly referred to as D. J. Mbenga (pronounced: Benga) (born December 30, 1980), is a Belgian professional basketball player who last played for the New Orleans Hornets. He also plays for the Belgian national basketball team.
Mbenga Foundation offers help to children in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congolese refugees in Belgium
To read more about D. J. Mbenga, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Obed Silva

Country of origin: Mexico
A former gang member is given the opportunity to stay in the United States. His alcoholic father was deported earlier. Now Obed Silva is trying to untangle his father's story and make art from it.
To read the rest of the story, visit the LA Times website.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kieu Chinh

Country of origin: Vietnam
Kieu Chinh (Vietnamese spelling: Kiều Chinh, real name Nguyễn Thị Chinh, born 1939 in Vietnam) is a Vietnamese American actress best known for her role in The Joy Luck Club. She currently lives in Garden Grove, California. ... Together with journalist Terry Anderson, she co-founded the Vietnam Children’s Fund, which has built schools in Vietnam attended by more than 12,000 students. Kieu Chinh and Anderson continue to serve as the Fund’s co-chair.
To read more about Kieu Chinh, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lucia Peka

Country of origin: Latvia
Lucia Peka (March 30, 1912 - August 13, 1991) was a Latvian-American Artist. Born in Latvia, she became part of the Diaspora of artists who fled Latvia during World War II, and eventually settled in the United States where she was a successful painter of landscapes, figures, and still life for almost 50 years. A touring gallery collection is currently (2010-2011) exhibiting a small collection of Peka oil paintings along with other Latvian Displaced Persons of the mid 20th century.
To read more about Lucia Peka, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Juris Hartmanis

Country of origin: Latvia
Juris Hartmanis (born July 5, 1928 in Riga, Latvia) is a prominent computer scientist and computational theorist who, with Richard E. Stearns, received the 1993 ACM Turing Award "in recognition of their seminal paper which established the foundations for the field of computational complexity theory".
To read more about Juris Hartmanis, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mary Harris Jones

Country of origin: Ireland
Mary Harris "Mother" Jones (August 1, 1837 – November 30, 1930), born in Cork, Ireland, was a prominent American labor and community organizer, who helped coordinate major strikes and co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World. She worked as a teacher and dressmaker but after her husband and four children all died of yellow fever and her workshop was destroyed in a fire in 1871 she began working as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers union. She was a very effective speaker, punctuating her speeches with stories, audience participation, humor and dramatic stunts. From 1897 (when she was 60) she was known as Mother Jones and in 1902 she was called "the most dangerous woman in America" for her success in organizing mine workers and their families against the mine owners. In 1903, upset about the lax enforcement of the child labor laws in the Pennsylvania mines and silk mills, she organized a Children's March from Philadelphia to the home of then president Theodore Roosevelt in New York.
To read more about Mary Harris Jones, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dan Wheldon

Country of origin: England
Daniel Clive "Dan" Wheldon (22 June 1978 – 16 October 2011) was an English racing driver. He was the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion, and winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and 2011. Wheldon died from injuries shortly after a collision at the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on 16 October 2011, at the age of 33.
To read more about Dan Wheldon's support of disaster victims, read this article. To find out more about Dan Wheldon, visit his page on Wikipedia. My condolences go out to his family for their loss.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Levi Strauss

Country of origin: Germany
Levi Strauss (born Löb Strauß; February 26, 1829 – September 26, 1902) was a German-Jewish immigrant to the United States who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans. His firm, Levi Strauss & Co., began in 1853 in San Francisco, California.
To read more about Levi Strauss, visit his page on Wikipedia, or visit

Monday, October 17, 2011

Yiyun Li

Country of origin: China
Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing and came to the United States in 1996. Her stories and essays have been published in The New Yorker, Best American Short Stories, O Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and awards from Lannan Foundation and Whiting Foundation. Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Guardian First Book Award, and California Book Award for first fiction; it was also shortlisted for Kiriyama Prize and Orange Prize for New Writers. Her novel, The Vagrants, won the gold medal of California Book Award for fiction. She was selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35, and was named by The New Yorker as one of the top 20 writers under 40. MacArthur Foundation named her a 2010 fellow.
To read more about Yiyun Li, see her page on Wikipedia or visit her official website.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Claude Rains

Country of origin: England
Claude Rains (10 November 1889 – 30 May 1967) was an English stage and film actor whose career spanned 47 years. He was known for many roles in Hollywood films, among them the title role in The Invisible Man (1933), a corrupt senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Mr. Dryden in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and, perhaps his most notable performance, as Captain Renault in Casablanca (1942).
To read more about Claude Rains, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Manivanh “Molly” Khounxay

Country of origin: Laos
A Laotian woman took a treacherous journey with family to come to America in 1980. It’s hard to believe, but the black-haired woman who owns a successful hair salon in Willow Grove was once imprisoned and a rifle held to her temple. She was 7 years old. She and her family were fleeing from impoverished Laos by foot and by canoe. Her impossible, death-defying journey finally led her to America, the land of opportunity.
To read the rest of the article, go here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fan Chung

Country of origin: Taiwan

Fan Rong K Chung Graham (金芳蓉, pinyin: Jīn Fāngróng) (born October 9, 1949 in Kaohsiung), known professionally as Fan Chung, is a mathematician who works mainly in the areas of spectral graph theory, extremal graph theory and random graphs, in particular in generalizing the Erdős-Rényi model for graphs with general degree distribution (including power-law graphs in the study of large information networks).

To read more about Fan Chung, visit her page on Wikipedia, or here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vidal Tapia

Country of origin: Mexico

Vidal Tapia is by all accounts International High School's brightest prospect. A teacher-described "pillar of strength" at the Paterson school, he carries a 4.0 GPA, a National Honor Society membership and a slew of community service hours. He was tapped as his class's valedictorian to give the commencement address in June. Eventually, he wants to work for NASA.

But his plans might fall short of even graduation, not because of any academic problems, but rather an immigration snare.

To read the rest of Vidal Tapia's story, go here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Naif Al-Mutawa

Country of origin: Kuwait

Comic book fans might call it a great origin story: In the aftermath of 9/11, a Muslim man creates a comic book series, "The 99," inspired by the principles of his faith. It builds a global audience and investors contribute millions for it to continue and expand.

In two vastly different cultures, Naif Al-Mutawa's tale hits a few roadblocks - "villains" if you will: Censorship from Saudi Arabia, home to the main Muslim holy sites; in the United States, a struggle to build an audience where free expression has been hampered by a post-9/11 rise in suspicion and scrutiny of all things Islamic.


Al-Mutawa has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University where he also earned a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology. He holds a Masters in Organizational Psychology from Teacher’s College, Columbia University and an MBA, also from Columbia University. He earned his undergraduate degree from Tufts University, where he triple majored in clinical psychology, English literature and history.

To read more about Naif Al-Mutawa, visit his official website, or read this article at Forbes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Luis Duarte

Country of origin: El Salvador

Luis Duarte left El Salvador for the United States when he was 7 years old, enrolling in school unable to speak English.

Against all odds, Luis graduated in June from Plano East Senior High School ranked ninth out of 1,338 students. He also earned a diploma from the prestigious college prep International Baccalaureate program.

His achievements earned him a full scholarship to Harvard University, but he was hesitant about going.

To read the rest of Luis Duarte's story, go here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Charles Simic

Country of origin: Yugoslavia

Dušan “Charles” Simić (Serbian: Душан "Чарлс" Симић [dǔʃan t͡ʃârls sǐːmit͡ɕ]; born 9 May 1938) is a Serbian-American poet, and was co-Poetry Editor of the Paris Review. He was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2007.

To find out more about Charles Simic, visit his Wikipedia page, or visit this link.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Plácido Domingo

Country of origin: Spain

Plácido Domingo KBE (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈplaθiðo doˈmingo]) (born 21 January 1941), born José Plácido Domingo Embil, is a Spanish tenor and conductor known for his versatile and strong voice, possessing a ringing and dramatic tone throughout its range. In March 2008, he debuted in his 128th opera role, and as of July 2011 his 136 roles give Domingo more roles than any other tenor.

To read more about Plácido Domingo and his many humanitarian works, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Emily Alice Goldsmith and Frank John William Goldsmith

Country of origin: England

Emily Goldsmith and her son Frank Goldsmith were survivors of the Titanic disaster.

Frank John William Goldsmith (19 December 1902 — 27 January 1982), was a survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. He later wrote a book about his experiences on the ship, and had his story featured in the documentary, Titanic: The Legend Lives On, as well as a children's book about the disaster, Inside the Titanic.


After their rescue Emily and Frankie made their way to Detroit where they settled. Emily found employment as a dressmaker. She acted as a volunteer for the American Red Cross during World War Two.


Frank served as a civilian photographer for the U.S. Air Force during World War II. After the war, he brought his family to Ashland, Ohio, and later opened a photography supply store in nearby Mansfield, Ohio.

Frank wrote an autobiography entitled Echoes in the Night: Memories of a Titanic Survivor and published by the Titanic Historical Society. Walter Lord wrote the foreword to the book, which is the only book written by a third class passenger about the sinking.

To read more about Frank John William Goldsmith visit his page at Wikipedia and you can find out more about Emily Alice Goldsmith here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Luke Song

Country of origin: South Korea

Luke Song is an American contemporary high fashion milliner designer.

Luke Song(hangul=송 욱 born in December 1972 in Seoul, South Korea) is a 5th generation Seoulite who grew up in the fashionable district of Myongdong. He moved to the Detroit suburbs in 1982 and graduated from Birmingham Seaholm High School. He first studied Bio-Chemistry, but eventually ended up studying fine arts at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Luke's artistic career lead him eventually to Paris, France, but he found the art of hat making during his journey back home to Michigan. He began his career as a milliner in 1997. He incorporated Moza Inc. in 1998 and his label Mr. Song Millinery is currently sold in over 500 boutiques around the world. Luke has been also designing for many other fashion companies and designs products for the movies, TV, books, magazines, and other venues. He collaborates with many artists around the world for gallery exhibitions and special exhibitions. He is currently working on 6 joint projects in Japan, France, South Korea and USA. He is also known as "Mr. Song" by most of his clients.

To read more about Luke Song, visit his page on Wikipedia, or to find out more about the hat he designed that Aretha Franklin wore to President Obama’s Inauguration, visit

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Abdulfattah John Jandali

Country of origin: Syria

Abdulfattah John Jandali is the biological father of the late Steve Jobs. Read more about his story here and here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Marina Marmolejo

Country of origin: Mexico

Marina Garcia Marmolejo (born 1971) is an attorney in Laredo, Texas and a current federal judicial nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

To read more about Marina Marmolejo, see her page on Wikipedia, or read this current news article.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

James Reston

Country of origin: Scotland

James Barrett Reston (November 3, 1909–December 6, 1995), nicknamed "Scotty," was an American journalist whose career spanned the mid 1930s to the early 1990s. He was associated for many years with the New York Times.


Reston won the Pulitzer Prize twice. The first was in 1945, for his coverage of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, particularly an exclusive series that detailed how the delegates planned to set up the United Nations. Decades later, he revealed that his source was a former New York Times copy boy who was a member of the Chinese delegation. He received the second award in 1957 for his national correspondence, especially "his five-part analysis of the effect of President Eisenhower's illness on the functioning of the executive branch of the federal government." He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1986 and the Four Freedoms Award in 1991. He was also awarded the chevalier of the Légion d'honneur from France, the Order of St. Olav from Norway, Order of Merit from Chile, the Order of Leopold (Belgium) and honorary degrees from 28 universities.

To read more about James Reston, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Henry J. Heinz

Country of origin: Germany

Henry John Heinz (October 11, 1844 – May 14, 1919) was an American businessman, who founded the H. J. Heinz Company.

Heinz was one of eight children born to John Henry Heinz. Both parents had emigrated from Kallstadt, Germany and settled in the Birmingham section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—today known as the South Side.

When Henry was six, the family moved several miles up the Allegheny River to the little town of Sharpsburg. There, at age six, young Henry (called Harry by his family) started helping his mother tend a small backyard garden behind the family home. At age eight Henry was canvassing the neighborhood with a basket under each arm selling vegetables from the family garden door to door. By age nine he was growing, grinding, bottling and selling his own brand of horseradish sauce. At ten he was given a ¾-acre (3,000 m²) garden of his own and had graduated to a wheelbarrow to deliver his vegetables. At twelve he was working 3½ acres (14,000 m²) of garden using a horse and cart for his three-times-a-week deliveries to grocery stores in Pittsburgh. At seventeen he was grossing $2,400 a year—a handsome sum for the times.

Heinz attended public schools and then Duff's Business College. After graduating from college, he started employment with his father's brick manufacturing business, eventually becoming a partner in the firm. All the while he continued growing and selling fresh produce.

To read more about Henry J. Heinz, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Teresa Heinz

Country of origin: Portugal

Maria Teresa Thierstein Simões-Ferreira Heinz (born October 5, 1938), known as Teresa Heinz, is an American businesswoman and philanthropist, the widow of former U.S. Senator H. John Heinz III (R-Pennsylvania), and the wife of U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts).


Teresa Heinz is the chair of The Heinz Endowments and the Heinz Family Philanthropies, disbursing money to various social and environmental causes. Heinz Endowments are among the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States.

To read more about Teresa Heinz and The Heinz Endowments visit her page on Wikipedia and The Heinz Endowment website.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Jennifer Granholm

Country of origin: Canada

Jennifer Mulhern Granholm (born February 5, 1959) is a Canadian-born American politician, educator, and author who served as Attorney General and 47th Governor of the U.S. state of Michigan. A member of the Democratic Party, Granholm became Michigan's first female governor on January 1, 2003, when she succeeded Governor John Engler. Granholm was re-elected on November 7, 2006, and was sworn in for her second and, due to term limits, final term on January 1, 2007. She has been mentioned as a potential Supreme Court justice for President Barack Obama. She was a member of the transition team for the presidency of President Obama before he assumed office on January 20, 2009. After leaving office, Granholm took a position at the University of California at Berkeley and, with her husband Daniel Mulhern, coauthored A Governor's Story: The Fight for Jobs and America's Future, released in September 2011.

To read more about Jennifer Granholm, visit her page on Wikipedia.